Creating a budget and knowing how to maintain it are essential tasks for building a solid financial future. Let's learn some basics about budgets and identify some steps on getting started.
What is a budget?
A budget is a financial roadmap to your goals. It tracks how much money you earn and spend for a specific period of time.
Importantly, a budget also sets limits for how much you can spend on certain things so that you can stay within your means.
Why build a budget?
A budget helps you achieve your financial goals, whether that is to get out of debt, afford to enroll in new skill-building classes or invest in activities that strengthen your recovery.
Additionally, setting a budget and building up savings can really help you withstand unforeseen setbacks.
Simple ways to save
Set yourself up for success by learning some simple ways to save and stick to your budget.
- Create a shopping list to help buy only what you need at the supermarket.
- Shop store brands as opposed to name brands.
- Clip coupons.
- Refill water bottles instead of frequently buying new ones.
- Brew and take your own cup of coffee in the morning instead of buying one somewhere.
- Give up the TV. Try a less-expensive online service like Netflix instead of cable.
Got a good money-saving tip?
Key budgeting terms
Here are three basic definitions to get you started:
- Budget: A financial roadmap that takes into account how much you will earn, spend, and save your money over a specific amount of time.
- Debt: The amount of borrowed money that you have spent and will have to pay back. Long-term debt is created when your expenses are greater than your income.
- Income: The amount of money that you earn or is given to you over a specific period of time.
Finally, there are countless resources that help teach financial skills. Here are just a few to get you on your way:
- Mint - Create budgets that make sense today and set you up for success tomorrow.
- How to Create a Working Budget
- 54 Ways to Save Money
With a little know-how and the right tools, building a budget can be very simple. However, sticking to it will almost certainly be difficult.
Think long-term, make a plan, and stick to it. If you feel yourself slipping towards financial irresponsibility, turn to your support team to get yourself back on course.
Keep learning about managing your finances and read the article Debt Relief
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